Pithy Gristle

David Orr reviews Vijay Sheshadri’s volume of poems “That Was Now, This Is Then” (Graywolf Press).

Reviewers who are poets are especially equipped with spicy pronouncements.

Poetry has a long, proud history of acting as if readers don’t exist. Often this is a good thing… But, of course, to act as if the reader doesn’t exist is exactly that: to act.
La poesía tiene una historia larga y orgullosa de fingir que no existen lectores. Muchas veces es cosa buena… Pero claro, fingir que no existe el lector es precisamente eso: fingir.

To write as an ironist, especially today, is to risk that the reader loses patience with hedging, backtracking, spirals of cleverness. But sometimes the layers of the onion ensure the purity of the tears.
Escribir como ironista, sobre todo hoy día, es arriesgar que el lector pierda paciencia con evasivas, cambios de opinión, espirales de ingenio. Pero a veces las capas de la cebolla aseguran la pureza de las lágrimas.

(David Orr, “A Poet Who Mesmerizes by Zigs and Zags, Hopping From Idea to Idea,” NYTimes, 11-25-20)

Morsels of meaty gristle to chew over and suck the juices, swallow or not.

(Translations are mine.)

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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